Those who want a better job, an upward career move, or have a specialized career may want to consider finding a recruiter to help them land the right job. Recruiters often can target specific jobs not yet listed on the job boards and put you in touch with executives. It may sound out of your realm to work with a recruiter, but these professionals have all kinds of connections and jobs in many industries that might be a good fit. We’ve created a guide to help you reach out to good recruiters and identify how they can help you.

Steps to finding a recruiter

Recruiters don’t take on job applicants as clients. They work for companies looking to fill positions. However, you can reach out to recruiters to let them know you are available for work.

You can use recruiter directories, or you can use a digital recruiting site like ZipRecruiter. Here are some tips to reach out to recruiters:

1. Call recruiting agencies

Recruiting agencies are always trying to fill both part-time and full-time work, and most can get you started immediately. Some might be temporary jobs, but these positions might be a good start in a company you want to work for.

Some of the biggest recruitment companies are Randstad, Adecco, and Robert Half. You can research these companies online or call them directly.

2. Consider a digital recruiter

If you’d rather take a digital route to job hunting, sites like ZipRecruiter have an AI recruiter that can help.

ZipRecruiter’s digital recruiter, named Phil, alerts job seekers to perfectly-matched jobs, pitches your resume to companies, and he’ll encourage you to apply to jobs with the platform’s one-click application procession.

By using a digital recruiter, job seekers can keep a closer eye on new opportunities. Getting job notifications is helpful during a job search, especially for those who are still working a full-time job.

When an alert comes in, you can respond quickly and improve your chances of “being seen” by recruiters and hiring managers.

3. Use LinkedIn

Once you’ve set up your profile on ZipRecruiter, it’s a good idea to polish your LinkedIn profile too. As you apply for jobs, the hiring manager will likely check your profile to learn more about you. Make sure your profile has an updated, professional picture, and up-to-date work experience, and you should include the “Open to Work” picture frame too.

4. Attend industry meet-ups

Most industries have informal meetings of some type. Sometimes, it’s to hear a keynote speaker or to promote some new product, tech, or service. Many of these events allow students, veterans, and job seekers in for a small fee. This type of professional networking is an excellent way to meet people who recruit and hire.

5. Contact companies you want to work for

Some areas have large anchor companies that provide a lot of employment opportunities. It doesn’t hurt to call them and ask if they have a recruitment office. Run a Google search for a recruiting company connected to an employer you’d like to work for.

Some companies have brick-and-mortar recruitment offices to funnel candidates through without coming directly to the company. Recruiters are in charge, can set appointments, and do job interviews.

6. Keep your online resumes updated

If you take a break from your job search, be sure to update your resume on ZipRecruiter before you start the application process. An updated resume will help digital recruiters like Phil find your ideal job.

Why you should work with a recruiter

One of the biggest reasons is convenience. Whether you work with a recruiter or use a digital recruiter, it’s nice to have someone working on your behalf to find a job that matches your interests, income needs, and career growth.

Beyond that, here are seven reasons you should work with a recruiter.

1. More job opportunities

Sites like ZipRecruiter works to curate the best job listings available. Since finding a job often feels like a full-time job, using a digital recruiter with fresh, detailed job listings is important.

2. Visibility grows

Your resume gets in the hands of hiring managers quickly when you work with a recruiter. In many cases, those making hiring decisions review the applicants referred by a recruiter first.

3. Process is convenient

Using a recruiter saves time. You still need to keep up your job search, but it helps to have someone else carrying some of the weight to find a good job for you.

4. Advice gained

Recruiters can spot problems on your resume or cover letter and help you fix them. You might not realize the problem by yourself. Recruiters help you fix these issues and present yourself in the best light.

5. Employer insight enhanced

Recruiters can give you insight into a company’s hiring process. They might suggest working towards a new certification the company needs or encourage you to emphasize your soft skill set to meet a certain role.

Recruiters can also tell you about a company’s culture and the hiring manager’s personality so you can prepare for the interview.

6. Confidentiality promoted

Your personal information, and the fact that you’re on the job market, are discretely handled by a recruiter. If you’re trying to keep your job hunt quiet, this discretion could be very important.

7. Candidate nurturing

Candidate nurturing is keeping candidates that could be good matches for a job up-to-date on openings and interesting in positions. Typically, this pool of candidates is interested in a new opportunity, but one isn’t currently available.

Recruiters send job applicants emails about new openings or a specific email if they are a fit for a newly opened position. Recruiters may also personally contact those they believe will be a good fit to let the job applicant know they are interested in finding them a position.

Candidate nurturing may include finding out more information about your skills, your salary demands, what you want in benefits (like healthcare and retirement), as well as telling you what is required for certain jobs. That could be special security clearances, birth certificates, or proof of degrees.

What does a recruiter do?

A recruiter’s job is to find, screen, and get applicants through the application process for open jobs. They are the beginning and end of talent acquisition.

This includes:

  • Job postings
  • Creating candidate funnels
  • Narrowing down resume selections
  • Vetting prospects
  • Interviewing job applicants
  • Providing skills tests
  • Making final recommendations to Human Resource (HR) executives

There are two types of job recruiters.

  1. In-house with a specific company and are part of their HR department.
  2. Headhunting companies that work on behalf of numerous companies to place qualified candidates in a variety of open positions.

In-house recruiters

In-house recruiters work for a specific company. Larger companies like Meta or Google would likely have in-house recruiters on staff and in the office.

They are heavily involved in creating new job listings and marketing new positions, which includes working with the marketing department for outreach and branding.

The primary responsibility of an in-house recruiter, or an internal recruiter, is to find the best candidates for specific company positions from entry-level, part-time to full-time executive posts.

Often, they are involved in developing the company’s long-range plans for job skills and position evolution over time. This includes collecting metrics on those expected to retire, company expansion, and new tech being used.

They also work to overcome challenges in the marketplace like fulfilling diversity goals, reaching out to those who don’t have access to the internet, and finding young people who have unique skills that would benefit the company once their education is complete.

Recruitment companies

Recruitment firms can exist on their own and work independently for several companies, much the same way an outside law or accounting firm would provide services.

Some of the biggest recruitment companies are Randstad, Adecco, and Robert Half.

These recruiters target job seekers with specific skills that match their client’s current needs and try to connect them with their client’s companies. They use a variety of tools to do this, like ZipRecruiter, to expand their pool of candidates and find qualified candidates.

They are paid by the companies that hire them, and their pay depends on their ability to find good hires. Job applicants don’t pay the recruiter.

All about potential candidate funnels

Much like a sales funnel, a candidate funnel is a process of bringing in candidates and narrowing them down to a winning applicant. The funnel may vary a bit by company, but typically it consists of these six phases:

  1. Awareness: A job seeker becomes aware of a position at a preferred company.
  2. Consideration: A job seeker researches the company and weighs the pros and cons of a position.
  3. Interest: A job seeker decides he or she is a good fit for the job and plans to apply.
  4. Application: An application is tailored to the job and submitted.
  5. Evaluate: Hiring managers review an applicant’s resume, CV, and portfolio.
  6. Hire: From a small pool of qualified candidates, the best fit is selected and hired.

What to look for in a recruiter

Good recruiters have several common qualities. If you’re looking to work with a recruiter, here’s what you should look for:

  • Possesses great knowledge: Look for recruiters with experience and a specialization in the area of expertise you’re looking for. Some recruiters, for example, stand out as tech recruiters who focus on job openings in that sector only.
  • Shows caring personality: Excellent recruiters aren’t just posting ads to job sites and social media. They want to fill the right job with the perfect candidate. They care about the company they represent and the job applicants they recruit. They want the hiring company and the candidate to be happy.
  • Exhibits passion: Look for a recruiter that loves what they do. He or she should spend a lot of time researching candidates, sending referrals to companies, and ensuring that candidates get the job offer they’re looking for.
  • Has good attitude: Recruiters who are good at what they do are positive, optimistic people. They are natural encouragers with a bit of salesmanship thrown in.

What recruiters are looking for

Getting a job isn’t just about having hard skills, like welding, accounting, or managerial experience.

Nowadays, recruiters are putting more emphasis on soft skills like:

  • Good communication
  • Collaboration
  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving

They are also looking at character traits, including:

  • Loyalty
  • Dependability
  • Integrity
  • Adaptability
  • Emotional intelligence

How to reach out to a recruiter

These days there is nothing wrong with emailing or contacting a recruiter and telling them you are available for future work. The most general way of doing this is through an email.

  • Send an email: The email should introduce yourself, identify how you found the recruiter, and ask about opportunities in a specific industry or with a specific company. Briefly describe your current position and what you are looking for in a new role. End it by saying you look forward to hearing from them. This is not a cover letter, and you typically wouldn’t send your resume with the introductory email, although it’s not completely inappropriate to do so. Your email should be a short, professional email with a formal heading and signature.
  • Network often: Going to local chamber events, industry events, and job fairs can put you in touch with recruiters too. They often attend these types of functions looking for possible job candidates.
  • Use a job board: Recruiters can be contacted through these platforms. You may need to search to find one that fits your industry, but contacting them to introduce yourself is a great way to make a connection.


How do you know if a recruiter is reputable?

Recruiters have reviews like most professionals, so you can start by looking them up online. You can also check their professional profiles on LinkedIn or the company database.

What are the benefits of working with a recruiter?

Working with a recruiter helps you get a head start on finding a job because they are also looking for you. They may also address gaps or issues with your resume to improve your chances of landing an interview.

Is it better to find a job through a recruiter?

It’s easier, and you can get a better salary and more benefits by going through a recruiter as some of the best jobs are listed. The best benefit is the recruiter matches you with jobs that fit your skills and knowledge but also fit your personality and values.

How is a recruiter paid?

Companies seeking applicants pay recruiters. Some are employed directly by the company while others are paid by contract.